NHRMC Hires Dr. Leelee Thames as Chief Value Officer

May 07, 2019
Leelee Thames

Dr. Leelee Thames has been hired as Chief Value Officer at New Hanover Regional Medical Center, bringing experience that will help NHRMC work with insurers and government payors to ensure our patients receive the best possible care. Development of a payor strategy that advances care while controlling costs is part of NHRMC’s strategic plan as the system moves to managing the health of the population we serve.

As a physician with experience as chief medical officer and medical director of large healthcare systems and health insurance plans, Dr. Thames has developed healthcare strategies and ensured teams were working together toward high quality, value based care. She will begin at NHRMC on May 13 and report to Dr. Philip Brown, Chief Physician Executive.

Dr. Thames will work closely with government agencies and insurance companies to make sure patients receive necessary preventative care that can prevent hospitalization. As part of that partnership, she will work to make sure discharged patients receive the care they need to prevent readmissions – a key component in the NHRMC Strategic Plan.

“NHRMC is doing our part to ensure every community member in our seven-county region receives the information and resources they need to achieve excellent health,” Dr. Brown said. “Dr. Thames will help guide these strategies that will positively impact our residents.”

With North Carolina’s impending transition to a managed Medicaid system, as well as changes with Medicare Advantage and commercial insurance companies, NHRMC needed a chief value officer with experience working for a payor.

Some of her specific duties will include:

  • Analyzing our employee health plan data and creating performance targets to drive value while providing strategic guidance on population health programs to improve total medical expense.
  • Serving as lead physician in development and implementation of payor strategy and system-wide growth strategy related to healthcare transformation.
  • Promoting care integration and reimbursement across the health care system.

“Her experience and background is totally unique,” Dr. Brown said. “Her energy and focus is remarkable, and our community will benefit from her talent and leadership.”

“When we saw Dr. Thames’ talent and skillset, we knew we needed her on our team,” said NHRMC CEO John Gizdic. “The timing was right, and we are excited to have someone of her caliber leading our value strategy.”

Dr. Thames, a board-certified anesthesiologist, most recently was national chief medical officer for the health plans of the Steward Health Care Network, which includes 36 hospitals. Dr. Thames’ background also includes working as medical director covering commercial and government populations for a health plan based in Portland, Oregon.

A native of Houston, Texas, Dr. Thames earned a bachelor’s degree in biology at Baylor University and earned her medical degree at Texas A&M University. She later earned a Physician Executive MBA from the University of Tennessee.